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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

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Berg Wozzeck
This is a triumph!

Bruckner Symphony 3
Revelatory and awe-inspiring

For immediate purchase!

Sibelius 3, 6, 7 Vanska
Outstanding performances

burns with a steady, beckoning light

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This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
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RECORDING OF THE MONTH Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879-1957) Songs of the Auvergne (1923-1935): Netania Davrath (soprano) Orchestra/Pierre de la Roche rec. 1963/1966. ADD ALTO ALC 1151 [77:24] [RB]

One of the crowning glories of the analogue era. Do not miss out on this.

Jean CARTAN (1906-1932) String Quartets 1 & 2, Introduction and Allegro, Sonatine Ensemble Stanislas, Quatuor Stanislas rec. 2010/1 TIMPANI 1C1187 [60:53] [Byz]

What a loss to music Cartan's untimely death was. 

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto 1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 4 Claudio Arrau (piano) Cologne Radio SO/Otto Klemperer, Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 1954/59 ICA CLASSICS ICAC 5045 [76:37] [JW]

The Klemperer-led Chopin makes this a very special acquisition for Arrau collectors.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Pieces Yevgeny SUDBIN (1980-) À la minute (paraphrase of Chopin’s “Minute” Waltz) [4:38] Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) rec. 2009, 2010, 2011, BIS SACD 1838 [69:44] [BR]

A clear viewpoint on Chopin, intelligently expressed; this may well be a classic.

Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto 2, Polonaise 6 Arthur Rubinstein (piano) Israel PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 1968 IDÉALE AUDIENCE 3079638 [91:00] [JW]

This Rubinstein film is, for me, unmissable.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Sonata 3, Etudes see BEETHOVEN

William CORKINE (fl. 1610-1617) Each Lovely Grace - The Second Booke of Ayres (1612) Cantar alla Viola (Nadine Balbeisi (soprano); Fernando Marín (viola da gamba, lyra-viol)) rec. 2011, DDD NIMBUS NI6173 [76:45] [JW]

Corkine’s music has been well realised.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Exultent superi - Motets Choisis Soloists of the Choir of New College Oxford Collegium Novum/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2011 NOVUM NCR 1384 [61:55]  [MC]

Quite stunning in all respects! 

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Violin Sonata Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Violin Sonata; Ma Mère l’Oye; Sonatine Michèle Auclair (violin), Jacqueline Bonneau, Geneviève Joy, Marie-Therese Fourneau (piano) rec. 1955-57 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR552 [54:38] [JW]

For admirers of French chamber playing in the 1950s, this is a winning disc.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) The Solo Piano Works Noriko Ogawa (piano) (all works) Singapore Symphony Orchestra/Lan Shui (in Fantaisie) rec. 2000-2011 6 CDs for the price of 2 See full track list at foot of review BIS CD 1955/56 [6 CDs: 7:14:36] [CH]

At such a tempting price, and with many works not included in older cycles, an obvious best buy for your complete Debussy piano music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Complete Works for Piano Walter Gieseking (piano) no. recording dates or locations provided Track details at foot of review REGIS RRC 4010 [4 CDs: 4:09:03] [CH]

Gieseking remains unassailable in ten pieces and is very fine in most of the rest. He is not really on top of the Etudes and disappoints in some of the single pieces.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande (sung in English) [154:49] Arkel – John Tomlinson (bass); Geneviève – Sarah Walker (mezzo); Pelléas – Robert Dean (baritone); Golaud – Neil Howlett (baritone); Mélisande – Eilene Hannan (soprano); Yniold – Rosanne Brackenridge (soprano); Doctor and Shepherd – Sean Rea (bass) Chorus & Orchestra of English National Opera/Mark Elder
rec. 1981 English text included CHANDOS CHAN 3177(3) [3 CDs: 54:24 + 36:10 + 64:15] [JS]

An important and distinguished addition to the Chandos Opera in English series.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia Dorothee Gilbert, Mathias Heymann, José Martinez, Fabrice Bourgeois, Ballet of the Opera National de Paris, Orchestre Colonne/Koen Kessels rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE OA1061 D [113:00] [RW]

A fleet-footed production in which the dancing is delightful.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) A Collection of Rare Historic Recordings Performers include Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Eugène Goossens, Constant Lambert, Isobel Baillie and Heddle Nash rec. 1929-55 DANACORD DACOCD717 [76:07] [JW]

A great deal to interest and stimulate.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Idylle de Printemps ;North Country Sketches: The March of Spring see English Spring

Erno DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Sonata see Music for Viola and Piano

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Marino Faliero Giorgio Surian (bass) Rachele Stanisci (soprano) Ivan Magri (tenor) O & Ch Bergamo Musica Festival Gaetano Donizetti/Bruno Cinquegrani rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.660303-04 [72.40 + 71.44] [MM-B]

I love Donizetti’s music and enjoyed it here but I found the singing rather disappointing.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Maria di Rohan Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) José Bros (tenor) Riccardo Simonetti (baritone) Geoffrey Mitchell Ch, O Age of Enlightenment/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2009 OPERA RARA ORC 44 [67.39 + 52.29] [RJF]

Another Donizetti winner from Opera Rara and a must for the bel canto constituency

Gabriel DUPONT (1878-1914) Les Heures Dolentes, La Maison dans les Dunes Stéphane Lemelin (piano) rec. 2007 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD2 2544 [53:16 + 41:18] [Byz]

Memorably colourful and rather beautiful, sometimes almost orchestral in effect.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies 7 & 8 Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Sir Roger Norrington rec. 2010 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.277 [74:59] [JS]

Lively and idiomatic performances of these two great works.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris Liza Ferschtman (violin) Netherlands PO Amsterdam/Mario Venzago rec. 2011 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72530 [52:30] [DC]

Odd bedfellows.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartets 11-14, Terzetto Guarneri Qt rec. 1965-79 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802088 [77:34 + 66:22] [RMo]

The Guarneri seem very much in sympathy with Dvořák’s bucolic lyricism. 

Peter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) Levitation Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Clarinet Concerto Aulis SALLINEN (b. 1935) Concerto for Clarinet and Viola Christoffer Sundqvist, Kullervo Kojo (clarinet) Tommi Aalto (viola) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu, Okko Kamu rec. 2009/10 ALBA ABCD 314 [68:11] [WH]

A very fine performance of the Nielsen Concerto, coupled with two beguiling contemporary works for clarinet. 

Heinrich Wilhelm ERNST (1812-1865) Complete music for Violin and Piano - Volume 2 Sherban Lupu (violin) Ian Hobson (piano) rec. October 2010 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0138 [79:56] [JW]
An exemplary offering.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Trio Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio Le Trio de France rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 287 [47:06] [JW]

A truly outstanding ensemble though their tonal projection was never predicated on beauty of sound for its own sake. 

Roger FISKE (1910-1987) Sonata see The Thurston Connection

Baldassare GALUPPI (1706 - 1785) 6 Sonatas for 2 violins and basso continuo Accademia dei Solinghi rec. 2010 DYNAMIC CDS 694 [54:95] [JV]

Music and performance make this recording well worth investigating.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris see DVORÁK

Philip GLASS (b.1936) The Concerto Project - Vol. 4 Double Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra, Tirol Concerto for piano and orchestra Tim Fain (violin) Wendy Sutter (cello) Residente Orkest/The Hague PO/Jurjen Hempel Stuttgart Chamber O/Dennis Russell Davies (cond & piano) rec. 2002 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0077 [61:19] [AM]

Strong performances, but, yet again, mediocre music from Glass.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948) Andrea Chénier Héctor Sandaval (tenor) Scott Hendricks (baritone) Norma Fantini (soprano) Prague Philharmonic & Bregenz Festival Ch, Vienna SO/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2011 UNITEL CLASSICA/C MAJOR 708004 [130:00] [RJF]

This verismo piece can accommodate the vagaries of this idiosyncratic venue and it gets a good staging and performance. 

Edvard GRIEG (1843 - 1907) Holberg Suite; Piano Sonata; Lyric Pieces Findlay Cockrell (piano) rec. 1994 FINDLAY RECORDINGS FC-01 [59:42] [JW]

Good finger clarity, fine rhythm, robustly energetic and very communicative.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Elegiac Melodies, Melodies for String Orchestra, From Holberg’s Time, Lyric Pieces,Nordic Melodies, Lyric Suite Malmö SO/Bjarte Engeset rec. 2006/09 NAXOS 8.572403 [71:02] [BR]

This hits the spot. You can never have too much Grieg string music, can you?

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto see TCHAIKOVSKY

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) In tempus praesens, Glorious Percussion Vadim Gluzman (violin) Glorious Percussion Lucerne SO/Jonathan Nott rec. 2008/11 BIS-CD-1752 [71:29] [LW]

A real winner of a CD.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b.1931) Fachwerk; Silenzio Geir Draugsvoll (bayan) Anders Loguin (percussion) Geir Inge Lotsberg (violin) Trondheim SO/Øyvind Gimse (cello) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572772 [55:54] [Byz]

Fundamentally tonally inclined … marvellously nuanced.

Iain HAMILTON (1922-2000) Three Nocturnes, Op. 6 see The Thurston Connection

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 - 1759) Jephtha Elisabeth Rapp (soprano) Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) James Gilchrist (tenor) Zebul Collegium Vocale Gent/Stavanger SO/Fabio Biondi rec. 2008 BIS-CD-1864 [80:34 + 78:14] [JV]

A pretty good performance but no real competition for recordings on period instruments.

Georg Friederich HANDEL (1685 - 1759) Eight Great Suites HWV426–433 Lisa Smirnova (piano) rec. 2007-2009 ECM NEW SERIES ECM 2213/14 [46:48 + 58:29] [DC]

Almost no competition as a complete set.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) German Arias, Gloria Dorothea Craxton (soprano) Fredrik From (violin) Kjeld Lybeccker Steffenson (cello) Leif Meyer (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572587 [65:52] [CH]

Historically Informed Practice at its most ravishingly lovely, and occasionally at its ugliest. Dorothea Craxton is obviously one to watch. 

Jonathan HARVEY (b.1939) Bird Concerto with Pianosong, Ricercare una melodia, Other Presences Hideki Nagano (piano) Gareth Hulse (oboe) Paul Archibald (trumpet) Tim Gill (cello) London Sinf/David Atherton rec. 2009 NMC D177 [54:05] [GD]

Approachable textures … terrifyingly ambitious electro-acoustic ambitions.

Wim HENDERICKX (b. 1962) Tejas (2009) [37:00] Skriet (1993) [5:45] Le visioni di paura (1990) [11:20] Variations (1988) [13:20] Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2010 ROYAL FLEMISH PHILHARMONIC RFP 003 [67:32] [HC]

A most welcome and generously filled composer's portrait with often quite beautiful works splendid performed and recorded.

Victor HERBERT (1859-1924) Serenade for string orchestra, 7 Pieces for cello and string orchestra, Three Pieces Maximilian Hornung (cello) SW German Chamber O Pforzheim/Sebastian Tewinkel rec. 2008-2009 CPO 777 576-2 [54:07] [Byz]

There is an undeniable charm to his music, and warmth and melody in abundance.

Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) Violin Sonata Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Viola Sonata Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin and viola); Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2011 EM RECORDS EMR CD003 [67:01] [JW]

Fine news that these two pretty much ignored works have been given some careful attention.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Two Psalms, Nunc Dimittis, I love my love, The Coming of Christ Robert Hardy (narrator) Chamber Choir of St Paul’s Girls’ School, City of London Ch; Holst O/Hilary Davan Wetton rec. 2011 EM RECORDS CD004 [55:54] [NB]

For dedicated Holstians only.

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Pastorale d’été, Symphony 4 Deliciæ Basiliensis, Une cantate de Noël Christopher Maltman (baritone) London Phil Ch/Neville Creed New London Children’s Ch/Ronald Corp London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2007-2009 LPO-0058 [54:35] [DM]

If you’re looking for these works – well played and recorded – this is a good place to start.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Piano Sonata ‘From the Street’; On an Overgrown Path; In the Mists Rudolf Firkušný (piano) rec. 1989 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802091 [68:52] [JW]

As good as you will ever find in this repertoire.

Kara KARAYEV (1924-1984) Seven Beauties, In the Path of Thunder Moscow Radio & Television SO/Rauf Abdullayev DELOS DRD 2009 [72:34] [Byz]

Lots of pleasing melody, catchy rhythms and easy-going tonal harmony.

Viktor Stepanovych KOSENKO (1896–1938) Piano Music – Vol. 2: The Complete Piano Sonatas Natalya Shkoda (piano) rec. 2009 World premiere recordings CENTAUR RECORDS CRC 3109 [49:44] [RB]

Confidently late-romantic essays in which one is often reminded of Rachmaninov.

Lori LAITMAN (b.1955) Vedem, Fathers Angela Niederloh (mezzo) Ross Hauck (tenor) The Northwest Boychoir, The Music of Remembrance rec. 2010 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559685 [61:18] [OL]

Like a good book that makes us wiser and more humane. 

Margaret Ruthven LANG (1867-1972) New Love Must Rise - Selected Songs of Margaret Ruthven Lang – Volume II Donald George (tenor) Lucy Mauro (piano) rec. 2009 DELOS DE 3410 [58.34] [MMB]

Close your eyes, lean back and enjoy!

Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Cello Concerto in D major see VIVALDI

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Staatskapelle Berlin/Pierre Boulez
rec. live, 2011, DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9521 [49:49] [MC]

A match for any of the competing accounts.

Franz LISZT (1811 – 1886) Songs and Sonnets Marcello Nardis (tenor) Michele Campanella (piano) rec. 2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94149 [47:22] [GF]

I do hope that the fault is with me.

Liszt, My Piano Hero Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Hungarian Rhapsodies 6 & 15, Ave Maria (Schubert), Piano Concerto 1 Lang Lang (piano) Vienna PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2011 SONY CLASSICAL 88697891412 [73:33] [MB]

Sheer febrile excitement.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Lieder Diana Damrau (soprano) Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0709282 [76:37] [MC]

This release of Liszt Lieder from Diana Damrau on Virgin Classics should not be missed.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Vallée d’Obermann; Sposalizio; Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este; Sonnet de Pétrarque; Isolde’s liebestode Nikolai Lugansky (piano) rec. 2011 NAÏVE AMBROISIE AM205 [65.00] [RBe]

Outstandingly brilliant playing from one of the world’s foremost virtuosos.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) ‘Robert la Diable’ & ‘Don Juan’ Réminiscences, Mephisto Waltzes ‘Faust’ Waltz, Etudes Earl Wild (piano) rec. 1968-79 PIANO CLASSICS PCLD 0021 [72.13 + 55:03] [JW]

A strong entry for Wildeans. Prepare to be gloriously singed. 

Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994) Concerto for Orchestra see SIBELIUS

Two very different twentieth-century masterpieces, with one brilliant performance and one disappointment.

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